Cleveland, Ohio – When it comes to welding repairs at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, on track and off, there is only one welding company track professionals rely on – The Lincoln Electric Company. A variety of Lincoln welders are used behind the scenes, fabricating track equipment, as well as on the track’s grandstands, signs and fences and for repairs on the new SAFER Wall system.
Speedway welder John Cleveland “grew up on a stick welder” and hadn’t used a wire feeder welder until a couple years ago. In his duties at the track, repairing and fabricating fences, gates, the grandstands and repairing track equipment, he likes to use the Invertec® V205-T AC/DC for stick and TIG welding quick repairs in the field because of its portability at just 38 pounds.
However, when it comes to in-shop fabrication, he turns to the SP-135 Plus compact MIG welder for MIG and flux-cored welding. Still highly mobile at just 54 pounds, the SP-135 Plus is a wire feeder / welder that Cleveland says makes short work of his fabrication projects.
“It does a great job for me on the galvanized steel we’re making the gates out of,” Cleveland says. “Using stick for all those years, I would have never imagined the increased speed the wire feeder provides, and it’s real easy to use with easy to understand voltage and wire feed speed controls.”
Doug Castillo, head of maintenance at the Speedway, had extensive experience with the Power MIG™ 255 MIG welder and Precision TIG™ 275 industrial TIG welder while fabricating two Indy Racing League safety trucks for the track. These modified Chevrolet 3500 models had to be equipped with fire suppression equipment, brooms, blowers and spreaders to accommodate oil driers. Various types and sizes of steels and aluminum were welded during this process.
The trucks each hold two Ranger® 250 engine driven welder / generators. The equipment is positioned in an enclosed bed to conceal them from the elements and to make the trucks aesthetically pleasing. The shielding gas tanks are stored underneath the welders. When it’s time for the welders to be used, the welders are slid out of their enclosure on a fabricated moveable base.
“I’m sold on the Lincoln welders. Their MIG welders provide a much steadier welding arc than others I’ve used. I especially like the digital readout that shows how many volts you are pulling and the flow rate, and the machine’s capability for fine tuning,” Castillo says. “Also they’re real quiet when compared to the previous welder I was using.”
Castillo also prepared the Speedway’s repair truck specifically equipped to repair the new SAFER Wall system installed at the track. This truck also holds two Ranger 250 engine driven welder / generators side-by-side as well as a Pro-Cut® 55 plasma cutting system.
The Jack Elrod Company installed the SAFER wall system at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and is the only company in the world currently doing this type of work. The walls are making their way into other racing venues across the nation such as Richmond International Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Talledega Superspeedway. Designed to minimize the impact of cars operating at race speed and protect the drivers, SAFER stands for Steel and Foam Energy Reduction.
“We started using Lincoln’s Ranger 250 with an LN-25 wire feeder at Indy because the Speedway furnishes them for us,” says Joe McMullen, director of sales and operations for Jack Elrod Company. “We since have purchased the same Lincoln setup for our own trucks.”
The reason, McMullen says, is simple. The company is contracted to be on standby to handle wall repairs during qualifying and races. These repairs mainly consist of welding 3/16-inch mild steel tubing and plate. If damage occurs, the repairs must be done thoroughly, but quickly, to let the on-track action resume. For this reason, welder reliability is key.
“The Lincoln welders are dependable and user-friendly,” McMullen says. “We’ve never had a problem with them. They do everything you ask of them and they run nice and smooth, even when we’re welding out of position, horizontal or vertical.”
The Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio, is a world leader in the design and manufacture of arc welding equipment and consumables, robotic welding systems, plasma and oxyfuel cutting equipment.
Originally Written 4/23/2004